We all experience stress from time to time in our lives. Some of us experience more stress than others while even still some identify as a stressed out person as opposed to experiencing stress. What’s the difference anyway?

In this article we’re going to explore a mindset shift as there is a BIG difference between experiencing an emotion such as stress as opposed to identifying with the energy behind the emotion.

Firstly, let’s unpack the concept of “Stories”. 


A story is what we repeatedly tell ourselves such as, “checking my email gives me stress”, “I don’t have time for mindfulness”, or maybe this one will land with you … “I won’t ever change because I’ve always been this way”.

Your subconscious mind makes up 95% of your awareness and what this means is that the majority of your awareness you don’t have access to. By definition, the subconscious mind  is “existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness” per the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  Take a second and just let this fully absorb into your consciousness … 

I invite you to take a very slow inhale through your nose as you let your belly expand, pause and hold the breath at the top, and slowly exhale through your mouth.

Alright, now that we’re a bit more settled let’s revisit this one final time. Our subconscious mind makes up 95% of our total awareness meaning that we only have 5% access to what we’re consciously aware of … this is nuts, isn’t it?!

My mind was blown when I learned about this years ago and the reason why this is so crucial to understand is because it’s the subconscious mind that dictates how we move through life. Meaning that, if on a subconscious level we have a story that we are a stressed out person and there’s nothing we can do about it, then we’re basically just in a stuck never-ending loop of stress. OR whatever that specific story is for you.

Really, this is about the classic example of seeing the glass half full as opposed to half empty. Yet, if all we know is to see the negative, how are we supposed to just switch our mindset?

For me what works is the 6-Step B.R.E.A.T.H. Process which you can read more about in the article linked here. The TL;DR is the following …

  • The body has a 90 second physiological response when we experience emotions
  • Emotions are energy in motion
  • When you notice the emotion coming, simply BREATHE through it, allow yourself to FEEL the emotion, and THINK INTENTIONALLY to bring positivity back into your awareness.

I wrote a whole book on this, so that’s very much an executive summary, check out the article here if you’d like to go deeper on that practice.

Carl Jung famously said, “until you make the (subconscious) conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate.” The stories we tell ourselves come from our subconscious mind and we can retrain our subconscious mind to work for us rather than against us. For me (and my clients) this has been a crucial step in overcoming stress.

Experiencing Emotions vs. Identifying With The Emotion

There is a difference between experiencing an emotion and identifying with your emotion. Remember that emotions are energy in motion and that our body processes said energies in 90 seconds. Too often, we avoid feeling these energies and we constrict and don’t allow ourselves to feel the emotion. When we avoid feeling the emotion, the energy gets stored within the body.

Let’s take a deeper look at stress. In our chaotic lives, we experience stress on a daily basis and in the landscape of business we can get stressed simply from just one email. Imagine a time that you recently got stressed. Now, remember how you felt and what you did … specifically, go to a time where you avoided the stress. Now, play out the rest of the day in your mind.

Most likely you became more stressed and this is because you didn’t allow yourself to experience the stress and let it move through us. To experience an emotion is to accept it and surrender to the feeling of it. I take a contrarian approach to what some might say … Many people will say things like “never allow yourself to feel or think negatively”.  THIS IS TERRIBLE ADVICE … well in my I guess not so humble opinion. Yet, the reason why I believe this is science backed (re-read what we’ve gone through so far for a refresher). If you don’t accept the feeling you are letting that energy get stored within the body. So, one stressor leads to another, and another and another . And so on.

A good friend of mine, Nathan Kohlerman, recently published his first book entitled “Between Two Worlds” and I loved what he had to say about the quote, “The way out is through”. 

Many people use this quote, myself included, Nathan states that this is untrue and that “the way out is within”. This is such a great reframe because the implications behind swapping one word is massive on a subconscious level. Saying “the way out is through” is almost like avoidance. Whereas “the way out is within” goes to exactly what I’m teaching you here … go within, allow yourself to feel the emotion, and at that point let it pass through you. YOU are not going through anything, it is the experience of the energy that is motion that goes within you and passes through. Make sense?

If you notice that you identify with labels such as a “stressed out person” then not only are you calling more stress in through your subconscious mind (because you’re telling yourself that’s how you think and feel), but also you’re avoiding feeling the stress.

So, please, if you want to get past stress and overcome the overwhelm stop identifying with stress and allow yourself to feel it. Once felt, at that point, this is when we call in the positivity. In the article I linked previously with the 6-Step B.R.E.A.T.H. Process I’m giving you the exact blueprint on how to think intentionally to move beyond stress and overwhelm. 

Just Breathe.

I didn’t even realize April was stress awareness month when I wrote a blog outlining stress management in Mid-March, which by the way, you can find that article here. I personally think these “awareness months” are nice in that they shine a light on important topics, yet I think people forget so soon after the month is gone. I’m not writing this blog to be on trend, nor to improve my SEO, or for any other debatable somewhat unethical reason. I’m writing this because this is literally what I cover in all of my articles. Just go through my blog posts on my website here and you’ll see an array of resources to help with stress management. 

I hope this inspires you to approach your thoughts and feelings well beyond the month of April. Remember, it really is all so simple, and as humans we tend to overcomplicate things … and that’s okay! Find ways to come back to your present awareness and allow yourself to feel your emotions so you can transcend them. For me, the ticket to transformation is through a conscious connection to my breath.

Just Breathe,

About the Author

Sam Kabert is a certified yoga instructor, breathwork facilitator, podcaster, and public speaker. His book, “SOUL/Life Balance,” is a No. 1 bestseller. Learn more about his work at SamKabert.com.  

At 31 years old, Sam made Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40 list recognizing his serial entrepreneur drive and million dollar business. Externally, Sam appeared successful. Internally, he was falling apart. 

In 2019, a ruptured relationship revealed feelings of overwhelm that had been numbed by decades of indulgence in food, alcohol, and business achievements. Ego aside, he embraced a path of self-discovery, spirituality, and soul purpose. An intentional journey that’s culminated in a proven, minutes-long, 6 Step B.R.E.A.T.H. Process that now helps “busy professionals” access inner peace and “Overcome The Overwhelm,” the title of his 6th book.

Passionate about bridging the gap between workplace culture and mental health, Sam’s mission is to teach accessible tools that overcome overwhelm. His ultimate goal is to help eradicate the glorification of Hustle Culture, while encouraging an expansion of Compassionate Leadership.